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Uganda: Religious leaders and government at loggerheads

By Godfrey Olukya
Posted on Friday, 20 April 2012 13:51

The Ugandan government and some church leaders are on a collision course, after the men of cloth were accused of preaching partisan politics.

Political leaders are not happy with the preachers whom they accuse of dabbling in politics.

Catholic Archbishop, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, during an Easter mass, reportedly advised President Yoweri Museveni not to stand in the 2016 elections but instead oversee peaceful transition. “The best present Museveni can give to Ugandans in 2016 is peacefully handing over power,” he said.

Bishop Kaggwa of Masaka Diocese accused the president of using guns and tear-gas against civilians, warning that Uganda may be plunged into chaos if leaders at various levels did not stop acting without reason.

“The actions we see today are because some of our leaders are not learned.

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“The violence that led to the police officer’s death and the manner in which the police handled the situation all point to the fact that some of our heads are empty. The correct line for this country is dialogue,” the Catholic cleric said.

Most Masaka inhabitants are Catholics.

Anglican Bishop Niringiye felt that after being in power for 25 years, Museveni should step aside, as he had been in power for too long.

Also delivering an Easter message, Metropolitan Lwanga of the Orthodox Church, urged Museveni to plan his smooth exit.

But the government has responded to the clerics’ utterances warning them to desist from getting involved in partisan politics.

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi told a press conference, at the ruling party’s headquartes in Kampala on Thursday that the direction religious leaders were taking was likely to sow divisions among Ugandans in the long run.

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He said that if they wanted to be involved in politics they should first resign from their pastoral jobs.

Presidential Press Secretary, Tamale Mirundi said the clergy had no business dictating Museveni’s retirement because it is not their role. He also questioned why the bishops used religious platforms to criticise Museveni, yet they had easy access to him.

“The problem with those people is that they do not know their role. A bishop cannot tell a medical doctor to make a woman deliver through a mouth because that is not his role. In the same way they should not instruct Museveni on political issues because that is not their speciality,” he charged.

A ruling party cadre, Robert Koja said that the bishops should first deal with their priests who have specialised in defiling underage girls and impregnating women yet they are supposed to practice celibacy.

“We are aware that some priests are facing defilement charges in courts of law and a good number of them have children but the bishops have never commented about them, instead they are instructing Museveni to step down,” he said.

Also read: The west is recruiting spies in Uganda – says angry Museveni

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